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Well, isn't this generous of them. Defense contractors say they'd be perfectly willing to accept tax increases and entitlement cuts for others, as long as their bloated budgets aren't cut. They're hoping to avoid cuts to defense programs scheduled to go into effect at the end of the year under the budget deal Congress negotiated with the White House last year. If budget agreements aren't made this fall or in the lame duck session, automatic cuts will kick in, slashing defense as well as various domestic programs. What they really want is to push the pain off onto others.
A House Armed Services Committee hearing two weeks ago first exposed the rift. Under questioning from Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), two major defense contractors acknowledged that the GOP’s refusal to consider higher revenues was not conducive to solving the looming budget crisis.

“I think everything’s gotta be on the table at this point, now,” said a reluctant David Hess, President of Pratt & Whitney — a subsidiary of United Technologies. [...]

“We’re not endorsing any particular bill out there or saying what tax or entitlement should be changed,” said Alexis Allen, spokeswoman for the Aerospace Industries Association, in a Thursday phone interview. “We do think that everything should be on the table at this point. We do need a solution. It’s really quite urgent at this point and we think Congress needs to do what it was elected to do.”

They've talked about tax hikes. They've talked about entitlement cuts, but defense cuts don't seem to be making it to their table. And yet, they receive praise from Democrat Andrews.
“I was very pleased with that answer,” Andrews told TPM in a hallway interview Thursday. “I think the defense leaders have been really public spirited and open-minded about this, and I think they’re acting very responsibly and I trust and hope that they will speak favorably about a balanced approach that includes revenue and spending cuts that neither side wants but that will avoid the sequester and reduce the deficit.”
How can it be "public spirited" when they're offering up tax increases on other people and cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to avoid deep defense cuts? That sounds more like passing the buck. And it's certainly not in tune with public opinion. Last winter, a CBS/NYT poll found overwhelming majorities calling for cutting military spending (52 percent) over cutting Social Security (13 percent) or Medicare (15 percent). Cutting defense spending is consistently supported by the public, as much as protecting seniors from benefit cuts is a priority.

It's fine that a traditionally Republican constituency is saying Republicans should be willing to raise taxes. But they sure as hell aren't in the running for citizen of the year because they're doing it to avoid the pain of cuts to their own budgets.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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